If you’re seeking relief from the ”here today gone by recess” teen stars, look no further than the seasoned cast that Penn has assembled for this drama (freely adapted from the novel by Swiss author Friedrich Duerrenmatt) about a retired Reno homicide detective obsessed with the unsolved killing of a little girl. Along with Nicholson (reuniting with Penn after 1995’s ”The Crossing Guard”), there’s Redgrave, Helen Mirren, Sam Shepard, and Harry Dean Stanton. ”There was no time for rehearsal,” says Eckhart (”Erin Brockovich”), who plays Nicholson’s ex partner. ”Sean gets people he wants to be around, who he knows can step up to the plate.”
But even with such a pensive posse, it wasn’t all moodiness all the time – surprising considering the Vancouver shoot was plagued with weather problems. ”I thought Sean [was always going to be sitting] with his face in his lap, brooding,” says Eckhart. ”Never, ever. When you get Sean in the environment that he loves, he’s as relaxed as you’ll ever see him…. I’m not saying everyone was making balloon animals, but when you got your work done, you could talk and laugh.” GOOD SIGN Did we mention that cast? THEN AGAIN If the film’s anything like ”The Crossing Guard,” it could be a major bummer.